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Taipei celebrates sister city ties with Prague through a concert

By Yali Chen
Taipei signed on January 13 a sister city agreement with Prague, the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic. The agreement deepened and reinforced their relationship by pledging cooperation in areas including tourism and education.
On the same day, Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) held an evening concert in the Municipal House to celebrate stronger ties between the two cities. The Municipal House is a civic center that houses Smetana Hall, a celebrated concert venue in Prague.

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Photo from DOCA
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (center) and Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib attend the
“Taipei Night” concert after signing a sister city agreement in Prague on January 13, 2020.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, and government officials from the two cities attended the concert. The “Taipei Night” performance was given by the Taipei Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and the Prague Symphony Orchestra (PSO).
Founded in 1969, the TSO is the first government-owned symphony orchestra in Taipei. Over the past 51 years, it has raised the symphonic culture of Taipei to an international level.
The concert kicked off with Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D major, K.285, followed by Dvořák’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 96. The string quartet was written in 1893 during Dvořák’s stay in the U.S, and then nicknamed The American Quartet.
Other pieces included “Taipei 1923,” a chamber music piece with multimedia composed by Taiwan’s young composer Shiuan Chang. In a live broadcast with multimedia images, the TSO also performed five pieces to show Taipei’s diverse and unique cultural characteristics.
The grand finale of the concert was Mendelssohn’s Octet in E♭ (flat) major, Op. 20, performed by eight musicians from Taipei and Prague. The work was completed on October 15, 1825, two days before the composer presented the autograph score as a birthday present to his violin teacher, Eduard Rietz. Despite a short rehearsal, the top eight performers showed superb skills to celebrate the friendship between the two cities.
Both sides aim to boost culture, education, commerce, technology, health care, and tourism ties after establishing their sister city relations. Taipei has now maintained sister city ties with 50 cities in 36 countries and territories since it signed its first accord with Houston in 1961.